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"I don't like the sound of all those lists he's making - it's like taking too many notes at school; you feel you've achieved something when you haven't." ~ Dodie Smith
November 25, 2011 7:16 AM   Subscribe

New York Times 2011 List of 100 Notable Books.
posted by Fizz (36 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
Noted.
posted by swift at 7:28 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anders Nilsen made the list? Hah, awesome. A lone mangy wolf in a blue void howls its approval . . .
posted by Think_Long at 7:36 AM on November 25, 2011


Thanks. I need something to wash the taste of Reamde out of my mouth.
My notable books of 2011 list would have Guyy Vanderhaeghe's new novel very close to the top though.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:04 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked "The Art of Fielding" a lot; I'm glad to see it here.
posted by thelonius at 8:13 AM on November 25, 2011


They left off Keith Richards' book. He'll probably pull a knife on them.
posted by punkfloyd at 8:27 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The way the NYT has written the piece is enough to make me never want to pick up any of those books.
posted by ninebelow at 8:35 AM on November 25, 2011


Keith Richards' Life was published in 2010. I got it for Christmas last year.
posted by Brodiggitty at 8:37 AM on November 25, 2011


I would add Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers.
posted by Kabanos at 8:43 AM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm only a third of the way through, but Alexander Theroux's book about Estonia is delightfully cranky so far.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:47 AM on November 25, 2011


I have read very few of these but have quite a number in my to read queue. I don't know why a few of the ones I did read are on there ("Blood, Bones and Butter". I am one of the cranks who just wasn't entranced by 1Q84 either.)
posted by jeather at 8:48 AM on November 25, 2011


Has anyone read Is That a Fish in Your Ear? It sounds awfully intriguing!
posted by peacheater at 8:55 AM on November 25, 2011


For the first time ever I've read four books released in the current year and am surprised that none of them make the list. I didn't expect to see Richie Unterberger's Won't Get Fooled Again: The Who from Lifehouse to Quadrophenia or Simon Reynolds' Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past make the cut since they're a bit limited in mass audience appeal. But I was surprised that neither of the true crime books I read made the cut, especially since they each come from respected authors and seemed to generate a lot of press. Paul Collins' The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars is one of the most compelling books I've read in years and Bill James' Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence was a great read. Thanks to this list I added 6 more books to my list of books to check out, which means I need to slow down on the magazine buying for a while - only so much time to read.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:59 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can I say that the Art of Fielding is what is wrong with everything in literary fiction today, including formal issues (bad metaphors, odd plotting, over writing) and insularity (i could have put money on it winning something).
posted by PinkMoose at 9:10 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


@PinkMoose

They lost me at "Franzen-like."
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:19 AM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


They left off Everything is Obvious ... Once you Know the Answer by Duncan Watts.
posted by John Cohen at 9:20 AM on November 25, 2011


It didn't look like they saw much notable science fiction in 2010.
posted by bukvich at 9:34 AM on November 25, 2011


Out of 96 fiction or non-fiction titles, 83 were published by Big Six imprints, 4 by Norton, and 4 by Grove/Atlantic.
posted by twirlip at 9:41 AM on November 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Seconding recommendation for "The Sisters Brothers"; also pleased to see that Glen Duncan's "The Last Werewolf" made the list. I got a bit tired of Duncan's pyrotechnics but it was still a fun, bittersweet read for Halloween (or anytime).
posted by Currer Belfry at 9:54 AM on November 25, 2011


I can't tell if this is a joke or not:
CANTI. By Giacomo Leopardi. Translated by Jonathan Galassi. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $35.) With this English translation, Leopardi may at last become as important to American literature as Rilke or Baudelaire.
That last clause has me scratching my head.
posted by OmieWise at 10:17 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reading "The Last Werewolf" at the moment - it's fun: show-off writing, racy plot. Not very far into it yet, but it seems really promising.
posted by communicator at 10:20 AM on November 25, 2011


List includes items we would not have put on said list. Stop presses.

Should this post go into the "Top Ten Metafilter squabbles about a list on the internet" or not: discuss.
posted by yoink at 10:36 AM on November 25, 2011


That last clause has me scratching my head.

The claim is that now Leopardi is available in a great translation he will become one of those foreign authors that literary-minded Americans read in translation: like Rilke or Baudelaire.
posted by yoink at 10:38 AM on November 25, 2011


peacheater: I'm about 1/3 of the way in, but loving it so far. The guy's a great writer, and explains things thoroughly without talking down.
posted by troika at 11:03 AM on November 25, 2011


You know what would be cool? If the author formed a paragraph from each opening sentence in the listed books.
posted by Renoroc at 12:00 PM on November 25, 2011


List includes items we would not have put on said list. Stop presses.

The NYT has published a list of books it thinks people should read; it's a notable contribution to an ongoing conversation about mainstream American literature. We are participating in that conversation with them because we like talking about books. What's wrong with that?
posted by twirlip at 12:00 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Over the past 6 years, I read about 6 books each year from the 100 Notable list. This year I've read two so far (Pulphead and 1493). I guess I need to add more, maybe To End All Wars, Thinking Fast and Slow, The Swerve, Rin Tin Tin, Inferno World War II, Catherine the Great.

83 were published by Big Six imprints

Correct. The New York Times Book Review is sort of the Academy Awards of the American book publishing industry. The weekly Best Seller list is the gold standard. They try to choose for review the most "important" books and authors and publishers, the ones that the most people would be interested in knowing about. So books in translation and university press don't get much attention, nor the smaller presses, since so few people read those. By definition, the most "important" books and authors are usually published by the major publishers since they have the most money to attract the talent, just like big movie studios and big important films.
posted by stbalbach at 1:30 PM on November 25, 2011


Paul Collins' The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars is one of the most compelling books I've read in years

Thanks. I've had my eye on it, your recommendation is "notable". I just finished The Man in the Rockefeller Suit you may like it, more true crime. There's this MeFi post, but the book version has since come out which I found excellent.
posted by stbalbach at 1:39 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


@ Stagger Lee: that should have been Franzenesque, right?
posted by ouke at 1:39 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


stbalbach: Thanks for the tip on Man in the Rockefeller Suit. I read a great article about this a few years ago, but didn't know about the book. Looks right up my alley!
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:57 PM on November 25, 2011


If the NYT list has whetted your appetite for more literary best of lists you might want to peruse Largeheartedboy's ever growing Online "Best of 2011" Book Lists. It's still early in the year-end recap season, but it's updated daily in a few weeks should have a list catered to just about everyone's needs.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 2:04 PM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


It must be noted that three of the books on this list (11/23/63, 1Q84 and Parallel Stories) also made that other list noted here today: The Shortlist of Contenders for the Literary Review Bad Sex Award. Congratulations to all.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:50 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm about 1/3 of the way in, but loving it so far. The guy's a great writer, and explains things thoroughly without talking down.

Wonderful, that's definitely getting read soon then.
posted by peacheater at 3:18 PM on November 25, 2011


I'm more intrigued in the listed prices than anything else. $35 for a Stephen King book? I haven't been a bookseller in a few years now, but...holy wow. No wonder publishing's in trouble.
posted by litnerd at 6:32 PM on November 25, 2011


$35 for a Stephen King book?

..King negotiated 50% royalties (and a $1 advance)
posted by stbalbach at 8:35 PM on November 25, 2011


The one by Glen Duncan sounds fantastic. I loved I, Lucifer, but then never really looked at anything else he wrote.
posted by Hactar at 8:41 PM on November 25, 2011


I always enjoy the way The Guardian lists their Books of the Year 2011. They ask well known authors to pick books they have enjoyed.
posted by Fizz at 4:29 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


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